AHHS Postmodernism and Global Art: Vik Muniz Essay

The Prebles’ ArtForms textbook portrays most PostModern and Global art as a departure from the
Modernist approach to breaking rules or rejecting tradition. Today, a new generation of artists prefer to
“comment on life, rather than focusing on perfecting form, creating beauty, or fine-tuning their sense of
sight. They want to create relationships between what we see and how we think”. (ArtForms pg. 462)
The topic for this assignment is to examine the work of the Brazilian artist, Vik Muniz, and his series
“Pictures of Garbage.” The question of “how a marginalized community discovered dignity” through
collaboration and creating art is presented in the film titled “Wasteland.” By breaking down social
biases, Muniz used garbage and the community that sprang up around it to create a noble image of a
garbage collector. Muniz wanted to use a person’s everyday materials to make imagery and “change
their life.” As a human being, what does dignity mean to you? How does Vik Muniz bring value to the
lives of the outcasts in the community? In your opinion, can art address some of the major issues facing
people today, such as war, poverty, prejudice, and other traumas?
Please refer to the video links for “Wasteland” and then compose a response to the essay questions.
WASTELAND clip on “Art and Transformation”

WASTELAND clip on “Pictures of Garbage”
WASTELAND clip on “Human Dignity”
WASTELAND (website for research)
WASTESLAND (full documentary)
Unfortunately this link no longer is available; optional but not required it to rent the
movie on Amazon

Format your answers as an essay. Take answers from the questions (below) and formulate thoughts into
paragraphs that flow.
You may use a header for Part 1: Social Responsibility and Part 2: Teamwork.
Word count for paper is between 750- 1000.
Cite your sources throughout the paper.


Part I. Compose an essay that effectively expresses and supports your response to the following
aspects on Social Responsibility. Structure your essay response as follows:
A. Identify the social issue(s) in the context of this work.
B. Summarize Vik Muniz’s perspective, identify his assumptions at the beginning of the
project and after the work was created, and also identify possible implications and/or
ramifications of his perspective.
C. Summarize the garbage collectors’ perspectives, identify their assumptions, and also
identify possible implications and/or ramifications of their perspective.
D. How did the economic issues facing the catadores relate to what you have seen before
where you live?
E. Identify the global issue(s) in the context of this work.
F. Assess the social, political, and economic impact of that global issue.
G. Identify and provide examples of “social prejudices”. Evaluate the impact of social
prejudices on attitudes and behaviors. Give an example of how prejudices will affect
human behavior in a social context.
H. Clarify and identify some of the examples of social prejudices you saw in the film.

Part II. Compose an essay that effectively expresses and supports your response to the following
aspects on Teamwork. Structure your essay response as follows:
A. Explain how Vik Muniz effectively communicates his proposal to the catadores to
“change our perceptions of garbage to transform their lives?” Give examples of how
Muniz shows interest in the ideas of the catadores? In what ways did the community
respond to Muniz proposal to create art with the everyday trash?
B. Describe the attitudes of both Muniz and the catadores towards working as a team? Do
you believe one person monopolized the project or did they all work as a team?
C. Describe the work ethic of the team. What would happen if Muniz decided to create
the work on his own? Would it be as effective? What would happen if others did not
support his idea? Would it be as effective?
D. As a leader, describe ways Muniz takes initiatives to assist the community to see value
in their lives as translated into art.
E. How does Muniz show that he is interested in a successful outcome for the entire group,
not just for himself?
F. This process transformed garbage into art. In doing so, did it also transform the
catadores? In what ways did you see this happen?
G. According to the women who participated in the art project, what was the impact this
experience had on their lives? How might their experiences have been different if they
were just the subject of the portraits and not part of the creative team that made the